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1988 Countdown #40: David Lee Roth, “Just Like Paradise”

(New to the countdown? Forgotten what it’s about? Catch up here.) A rock climber dangles from a steep cliff, pulling himself up with his left leg. To emphasize that this is a raw, elemental scene, the only soundtrack is a howling wind. The climber would not be identifiable as David Lee Roth without the block […]

posted 9 July 2013 in 1988. 6 comments

1988 Countdown: #41-50 Roundup

A few years back, I discovered gold in my garage: three videotapes containing the 1988 year-end countdown on MTV. Since then, I’ve been working my way through the top 100 videos of that year, plus the commercials, the VJ breaks, and the cool animated snippets. The sixth batch of videos (not exactly “the sixth hour,” […]

posted 18 January 2012 in 1988. 3 comments

1988 Countdown #41: Belinda Carlisle, “Heaven Is a Place on Earth”

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) The best commentary on “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” remains Niki Harris and Donna De Lory, backup singers for Madonna, captured in Truth or Dare doing vocal warm-ups by belting the song out while beating on their own chests to produce a warbly Minnie Mouse effect. (“Those […]

posted 10 January 2012 in 1988. 12 comments

1988 Countdown #42: Daryl Hall John Oates, “Everything Your Heart Desires”

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) “After three years of separation, Hall and Oates got back together,” Adam Curry says, not particularly moved by this tender reunion, “with a tremendously successful album.” Well, Ooh Yeah! peaked at #24, which seems something less than tremendous. (Filled with bonhomie, Arista had it certified platinum.) Curry continues, […]

posted 22 June 2011 in 1988. 12 comments

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #24

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) The commercial break kicks off with a time-lapse video. A shadow of the MTV logo glides across a wall. As it moves, black-clad graffiti artists paint the shadow on the wall, resulting in a mural of overlapping MTV logos. It’s a well-conceived, attention-grabbing ten-second spot. Next up: another […]

posted 10 May 2011 in 1988. no comments yet

1988 Countdown #43: Information Society, “What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)”

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) A burbling drum-machine rhythm accompanies quick cuts of four young white synth-poppers, including a boy with Chris Lowe glasses covering his mouth, a girl with black lace gloves covering her ears, and a lead singer covering one ear and one eye. Then a gravelly voice solemnly intones, “Pure […]

posted 4 May 2011 in 1988. 9 comments

1988 Countdown #44: Terence Trent D’Arby, “Wishing Well”

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) Adam Curry returns to introduce “Terence Trent D’Arby, with the first number-one hit of his career.” At the time, “first” seemed an entirely reasonable adjective in that sentence, although “last” or “only” would prove just as accurate. Curry continues, “It’s from an album that he claimed was the […]

posted 18 March 2011 in 1988. 10 comments

1988 Countdown: Commercial Break #23

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) MTV visits the Duke. First, the stoned intern in the control room has cued up the Bon Jovi promo again. It includes footage from the “Wanted Dead or Alive” video–and an actual lighter being held up at a concert! Only a few years later, that would feel anachronistic. […]

posted 9 February 2011 in 1988. no comments yet

In Media Res

I’ve mentioned the name of Ted Friedman on this blog before: Ted’s one of my oldest friends, and back in 1988, was my host on New Year’s Eve for a party where we watched (and taped) the MTV year-end countdown. He’s now a professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta (specifically, Associate Professor of Communication). […]

posted 8 February 2011 in 1988, Outside. 2 comments

1988 Countdown: Guns N’ Roses, “Paradise City”

(New to the countdown? Catch up here.) Without any explanation, Kevin Seal returns, to explain that they have room to squeeze in another bonus video from late 1988. (We haven’t had one of these in four hours, but previously “Armageddon It” and “Angel of Harlem” were added to the mix.) As Seal puts it (in […]

posted 3 February 2011 in 1988. 6 comments